Russian “Referendums” at Gunpoint: How Was the Voting in Russia-Controlled Areas and What Will Happen Next?

Russian “Referendums” at Gunpoint: How Was the Voting in Russia-Controlled Areas and What Will Happen Next?

Photo: ТАСС

Putin hopes to recreate the Crimean scenario, while the whole world is working on the new sanctions against Russia.

The Russian invaders have announced the results of the so-called "referendums" held the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions. As expected, the Russians were so generous that fabricated the whole 90% of votes for “integration” of the seized territories with the Russian Federation. Putin obviously intends to announce the annexation of the “new lands” in the coming days, despite the fact that the international community firmly refuses to recognize the outcome of sham referendums. Meanwhile, the military experts are discussing their predictions of how this events may potentially impact the situation at the frontline.

Voting at the gunpoint

The "voting committees" in Russia-controlled areas did their best on order to fabricate overwhelming public support of “integration” with Russia. According to their data, 93% of voters in Zaporizhzhia region "voted" for the region's accession to the Russian Federation, while in Kherson region the annexation was supported by 87% of voters. The outcome for Luhansk and Donetsk Region was 98% and 99% votes “for” respectively.

The Head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, Serhii Haidai, said that, according to the invaders, the number of people who allegedly took part in the sham referendum Luhansk Region was approximately equal to the number of entitled voters many years ago despite huge number of evacuees and immigrants.

Journalist Denys Kazanskyi showed a video of what a referendum at gunpoint looks like – the members of so-called "voting committees” were walking door-to-door escorted by armed invasion army troops.

Dmytro Orlov, the Mayor of Enerhodar, reported that the invaders staged a special “referendum voting show” near with voting in a "referendum" near the Zaporizhzhia NPP. For this purpose, they brought in a crowd that pretended to be Zaporizhzhya NPP employees.

"A large group of men in civilian outfits waited until the end of the shift at the plant and mingled with a crowd of the plant employees who were leaving the facility after their shift. On the way, the pretenders actively gave interviews to pro-Russian propaganda media and shouted words of support for Russia and the sham referendum, after which they went to the van where the "voting" was held and demonstratively filled out the ballots", he noted.

Moreover, the invaders also forced Ukrainian prisoners of war kept in Olenivka, Donetsk Region, to vote at the fake "referendums" at gunpoint.

Фото з соцмереж

Meanwhile, in Kherson Region, the Russian official who were going door-to-door decided to adopt a so-called "family voting procedure" - if only one family member was at home, he or she was "asked" to take several ballots and "vote" for everyone in the family.

Photo: Associated Press

Putin Is Getting Ready to Announce New Annexation

Moscow responded to these events with a series of statements about recognition of the "voting results" and respecting “expression of will” of the seized territory residents. Dmitriy Medvedev, the Deputy Head of the Russian Security Council, has already managed to greet the sham referendums with the short post: "Welcome home, to Russia!”.

Andrei Turchak, the First Deputy Head of Russian Federation Council, said that "the outcomes of the referendums are obvious to everyone, their legitimacy is not in doubt..., and the voting at the referendums was free and open, despite Kyiv regime’s efforts to disrupt it”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to likely announce the annexation of Ukraine's new territories on September 30th, speaking before both chambers of the Russian parliament.

According to Russian mass media, former Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Dmitriy Rogozin may become the head or presidential commissioner to the new Crimean Federal District, which covers illegally annexed Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk, and the territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions.

Zelenskyi Demands to Stop Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said that the events in the seized territories could not even be called even a mock "referendum”. He called on the members of the UN Security Council "to stop the only country which opposed everyone in the world".

"This farce in Russia-controlled territory cannot even be called a mock referendum. We knew in advance what kind of result that would fabricate. The alleged turnout, the alleged percentages. Even the intelligence did not have to try very hard. Agreed outcomes for this farce were thrown into the media. Russia is not even hiding what it’s doing", the President said.

Zelenskyi added that the only rational response to such impudence of the invader state would be even more support for Ukraine from Western partners.

The President also noted that "the implementation of the so-called Crimean scenario and another attempt to annex Ukrainian territory would mean that there is nothing to talk about with this Russian president.

In its turn, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on the EU, NATO and G7 countries to immediately impose tough new sanctions against Russia and substantially increase military aid to Kiev.

The UN Security Council Responded to Sham Referendums

On September 27th, the UN Security Council was convened because of the sham referendum to condemn Russia’s actions.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo stressed that the so-called "referendums" that had just ended in the seized parts of eastern Ukraine were not legal under international law and that the UN remained fully committed to Ukraine's sovereignty within its borders.

The UN Under-Secretary-General also pointed out that "voting" very often did not take place at polling stations, and collaborators accompanied by armed men went door-to-door with ballot boxes.

Representatives of the USA, the UK, France and many countries called the "referendums" a comedy show and noted that the expression of will at gunpoint could not have a legal basis.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the European Union announced sanctions against the organizers of the sham referendums in Ukraine.

What to Expect at the Frontline Next?

Military expert Vladyslav Seleznev believes that the invaders will not be able to run another offensive operation after the so-called "referendums," despite their threats to advance to the administrative borders of the regions.

Seleznev recalled the events of March 18th, 2014, when a similar "referendum" took place in the temporarily annexed Crimea and the city Sevastopol.

"Since that time, Russia considers these territories as Russian territory. However, we see that the Ukrainian Defense Forces are still striking Russia’s military facilities in on Crimea. Dmitriy Medvedev once said that any attempts to attack Russian territory will lead to a devastating response by the Russian army, and they definitely consider Crimea a part of the Russian territory. "Still, there were few “bangs” in Crimea and Sevastopol, and devastating response followed," he noted.

Military expert Oleh Zhdanov also believes that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will continue their routine operations AFU:

"We have attacked the Russian troops in these areas and will continue to attack them. We will continue to liberate our land as we liberated them previously. The whole civilized world, except for Russia, recognizes that these territories belong to Ukraine.

The expert assumes that Russia may threaten with nuclear weapon to defend the annexes territories, "but it is unlikely that the Russian Federation, left alone against the whole world, will actually to use it”.

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